The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade in Canberra, Australia has published the submission of 31 July 2020 of UMD Australia and its young leaders Generation M, related to issues facing Macedonians in Australia.
Click HERE to download a copy of our submission; HERE to read other submissions made to the Committee.
“Our team, including our passionate Generation M youth, worked hard to consider the diverse views of the Australian Macedonian community, in responding to the Committee’s public inquiry. We actively sought recommendations from our community leaders and conducted our own research to elaborate on the important issues affecting Macedonians in our country,” said Vera Sekulovska, UMD Global Board of Directors member and a director of UMD Australia.
As a community with a history of over a century in Australia, it was extremely important that UMD Australia present a submission identifying the issues facing the unique Macedonian diaspora, and making recommendations for change, within the scope of the inquiry’s terms of reference, including:
• Recognition that the Macedonian diaspora is vulnerable as a group, continually pressured to defend its identity, culture, language and history within Australia, primarily due to external factors such as the unjust and invalid Prespa Agreement;
• The need for more funding for Macedonian cultural, arts and community organisations and for the teaching of the Macedonian language at all levels of education, acknowledging that it is one of the most commonly spoken second languages in Australian homes;
• Encouraging a simplified government grant application process, including language and other assistance to applicants;
• Greater support for the protection of particular vulnerable groups in the Macedonian community, such as the elderly;
• Responding sensitively to cultural issues contributing to the under-utilisation of mental health services;
• Targeted assistance to enable more Australian Macedonians, especially youth, to participate in Australia’s democratic and social institutions through programs like youth mentorships and internships and employment diversity targets;
• Increased funding for improved, fully-informed, official data collection to support the truth of the Macedonian diaspora, to enable the government to properly evaluate and respond to the needs of the community; and
• The development of stronger Australian-Macedonian bi-lateral relations by the establishment of an Australian Embassy in Skopje, that would also benefit the many Macedonians that travel, live, or do business in Macedonia.
A full Committee report with recommendations for Australian authorities is due by 26 November 2020. UMD Australia has made it known to the Committee that its representatives are available to appear before the Committee to elaborate on its submission.